I am very comfortable with some of the domestic arts. I can make a delightful pilaf, roast a chicken to a turn, make gravy from scratch, and I'm mastering chewy ANZAC biscuits. I thoroughly enjoy decorating my house in an utterly non-minimalist way. I'm good at laundry (Lord knows I need to be with three grubby children). I throw a great children's party; the Bug's Life cake I made for Number One Son's fifth birthday back in 2000 was a triumph. I can even manage to tend a garden, although the current Victorian drought and a recent lack of time would lead you to believe otherwise.
There is, however, one domestic art that I am completely hopeless at - sewing.
To be truthful I'm not completely hopeless. I can mend things, hem a skirt, and I am fond of embroidery. I've stitched old-fashioned samplers, although I've never managed to finish one. I've also dabbled in quilting, and am collecting the prettiest of Miss Mucks's old clothes to make into a quilt one day.
But when it comes to actually making a piece of clothing, I seem to have missed a vital piece of my genetic make-up. I come from a family of excellent sewers. I grew up listening to stories about how my mother and her sister made beautifully tailored clothes when they where teenagers. Both of them kept me in very sweet dresses when I was a little girl, including some made from the pattern pictured here. And my sister is a fantastic seamstress; she made me a gorgeous A-line coat last Christmas as my present.
All of this patience and fortitude is completely lost on me. I hate using a sewing machine, cutting a pattern terrifies me, and everything I've ever made has been unwearable. I don't have the sewing gene, although my sister is determined that I develop it one day. I have hopes of managing to sew a decent cushion cover, but am most sceptical when it comes to something that someone might actually want to wear.
This doesn't stop me enjoying the delightful A Dress a Day blog though. Old patterns, pretty dresses, and witty prose. I heartily recommend* it, even if like me, you don't sew, and are never likely too.
*It will come as no surprise that it was my sister who told me about A Dress a Day. Nor will it come as a surprise that she gave Miss Mucks the most wonderful embroidery book, thread and a hoop for her recent ninth birthday.